This morning I was telling my housemate about the chat I had with Rodney Eggleston yesterday, principle architect of March Studio. I explained that Rodney and his team are finishing up the grand stair of the Nishi building (which leads to the Hotel Hotel foyer) has designed and made 12 unique Aesop shops to date; as well as the really very beautiful Baker D.Chirico shop that I had taken her to a couple of weeks ago. Then I mentioned that he is 32 years old. My housemate, 30, French, rarely gets to the point in under two minutes, said “fuck him”. Oui, it’s pretty hard not to feel like an underachieving loser when you hear the story, I probably should have let her have her coffee first.
But March studio is not your average studio, and these aren’t your average designers. The teams consists of Rodney, Anne-Laure Cavigneaux, Sam Rice, Julian Canterbury, Haslett Grounds, Patrick Macasaet, and Jack Crocker. For us at Hotel Hotel, the most interesting thing about this mob is that they aren’t solely concerned with the design, materials, colour and what-not of a space, but also with the actual making of the space itself.
The gist of their design process is as follows – let the location inform the materials, and then let the materials inform the design. In Nishi’s case, the creative catalyst was the splendour of the construction site itself: chaotic but precise. March also prescribes to the philosophy of “letting the material be the material” (ah so desu ka, sensei) by using them in their natural state.
This process, inspiration and philosophy led to the sourcing of reclaimed timber collected from a house; a basketball court; from the Nishi construction site itself; and from off cuts of Nishi’s own lovely Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) timber façade.
Now to the making. The ceiling feature consists of 2150 pieces of said reclaimed wood and “then shiteloads more in the stair”, and 1200 steel rods holding the wood into place. Because of the different wood widths and sizes, no two steel rods are the same, and each has been individually designed with holes of different widths, and at different distances to each other. Sam showed me some of his drawings that I have posted below so you can get an idea of the intricate, precise and just plain mental nature of these details. (Just by the by, I asked for A jpeg of A steel rod, and Rodney gave me 500 different rods in one image…mental.)
Rodney states that part of his success comes from relationships. This includes selecting the clients he wants to work with – people that like taking something everyday and making it precious (high-five Hotel Hotel homeboys). Also, their relationship with CBD, the carpenter-builder dudes that patiently cut and drilled wood and steel according to March’s never-ending master plan.
I think you’ll agree the word beautiful doesn’t cut it – the effect is so full of thought and expressive of so many stories as well as being real nice to look at. As the frenchy housemate would say in her frenchy accent, “loooove, love, love it”.
(all photographs and drawings by March Studio)
THE GRAND STAIR
BLUEPRINT OF 500 OF 1200 INDIVIDUALLY DESIGNED STEEL RODS
OVERALL AND DETAILED AXONOMETRIC DRAWINGS OF HANGING TIMBERS